Lucky for me I have a deal with my wife that when ever we holiday, if I can find a gym, I get to train – and this was her idea (say what!!). So back in early 2016, when my wife and I booked flights to ‘Murica (for a kid free holiday) we planned on going San Francisco, LA and Las Vegas. I knew straight away I wanted to try get a class in, at Kurt Osiander’s gym in San Francisco. I had always wanted to meet the man, after watching his videos – his techniques are good, he always cracks me up and I had heard really good things about his gym. So I made contact early before leaving NZ with the Ralph Gracie gym with a short message including my name, grade, where I’m from and asked if it was cool to drop in for a class. The reply, “we work it out when you get here”. That was enough my Gi was the first thing I packed!.
Once in San Francisco and the tourist things were out of the way I made contact with the gym to find out class times. I got to the gym early, Kurt was there and remembered me from my message, we talked about NZ, he asked where I trained, who under etc then it was time to train. I stepped onto the mats and the team were all open and chatting. Then it was time to start the warm up.
Whoa. I used to think I could take a hard warm up but this was ‘nek level’. It was hard out continuous cardio, with conditioning drills, followed by some wrestling take downs, which was a whole new experience and cool lesson unto itself! I was confused about about one part of the wrestling drill so asked a question about it, the wrestling coach came up to me and was like “f%ck yeah bro, you grab here, twist to here, push to get a f%cken reaction, shoot under and take him the f%ck down!” I did the technique and he was straight back over “F%ck yeah man, that’s the sh^t I’m talking about!” I loved this place! Once we had gone through all that, I was sweating bullets, it was like Ace Ventura inside that rhino! So I went to remove my rashie. My wife asked me how I had enjoyed the class, I was like “babe, that’s just the warm-up!” All I got back from her was “well good luck”.
Back on the mats, Kurt broke down one technique sequence and we drilled it over and over until it was memory banked. Kurt did the rounds, answering questions, firing out profanity laced “feedback” but it was awesome. Working with my partner to complete one of the drills we were struggling then heard “What the f%ck are you doing man? Don’t f%cken laugh, this ain’t funny” This was literally what Kurt Osiander said to my training partner. He then showed us both extra points and tips for getting the sequence right. It worked! He was an absolute dude. Often I see famous BJJ players in magazines, TV, online etc and I think it would be cool to meet them but I am also pretty dubious that the expectation of them is built up and they will be different in real life. Not this guy. Kurt was exactly as he is in all I have seen and read! I sincerely believe there is no insults intended from him, it is just the way he talks. There were no personal attacks, nothing directly hurtful, just technical advice, straight and to the point.
I took a lot away from the one class and I hope to get another chance to train with him in the future. Kurt had expressed an interest in coming over to NZ to snowboard and train. We had some time left for a roll before I had to catch a plane and I got to roll against 2 black belts, the first was great fun, like a warm up roll with technical passing and attacks, smiles and jokes throughout and then my last roll was an active competitor and we had a great roll before he got me in a very tight toehold which brought me to a verbal tap. The knowledge I learnt I have since used almost every time I get into that rolling situation. I even teach the same move as best I can!
And as the man himself said to the class “Now go f%cken train”.
“I like to travel and meet people all over the world- and choke them” – Kurt Osiander